Here’s the latest offering from Norman, Oklahoma’s, favorite psychedelic sons. While Wayne Coyne, Steven Drozd and Michael Ivins remain artfully steadfast in their noncommercial pose, the new Flaming Lips album is as lush and beautiful as any rock record released this year. Using an imposing amount of fancy-schmancy production techniques, regal orchestrations, modern electronica and freaky-deaky instrumentation, The Soft Bulletin is a strangely peaceful collection of music. Certainly, Coyne is an unusually distinctive singer, and his high-pitched warble helps to make the Lips an easily identifiable sonic commodity. Besides their everything-but-the-kitchen-sink sound aesthetic and hippie-drippy sonic references, Coyne indulges in some surrealistic wordplay that enhances the dreamlike quality of this fine recording. With such clever song titles as "A Spoonful Weighs a Ton" and "Feeling Yourself Disintegrate," the Flaming Lips quickly get under your skin and lay their psychic eggs in the righteous region of your permeable left brain. All of this mind control only serves to hatch a burning desire for subsequent album listenings and some thoughtful meditation on one’s navel. The band’s florid use of mellotrons (canned strings) lends a spunky cheesiness to the entire affair and will certainly be imitated by many other psyche-cerebral music dudes in the very near future.
Still, the Flaming Lips are just another unconventional rock band with a very original sound. While we might convince ourselves that Coyne and company represent the second coming of modern psychedelia, one still has to enjoy their off-kilter poptopia or just move on to the next episode.